Kaman SH-2G Super Seasprite. 2018.

Gdynia 2018-05-23

293b Tally 2002 year.

Kaman SH-2G Super Seasprite.

History of the helicopter in Poland.

Kaman SH-2G Super Seasprite nb 3545. 2011 year. Photo by Karol Placha Hetman
Kaman SH-2G Super Seasprite nb 3545. 2011 year. Photo by Karol Placha Hetman

Kaman SH-2G Super Seasprite nb 3545. 2011 year. Photo by Karol Placha Hetman
Kaman SH-2G Super Seasprite nb 3545. 2011 year. Photo by Karol Placha Hetman

Kaman SH-2G Super Seasprite nb 3545. 2011 year. Photo by Karol Placha Hetman
Kaman SH-2G Super Seasprite nb 3545. 2011 year. Photo by Karol Placha Hetman

Kaman SH-2 Seasprite is a ship based helicopter, developed and manufactured by the American manufacturer Kaman Aircraft Corporation.

The development of the Seasprite helicopter was initiated in the late 50's in response to the US Navy's demand for a sufficiently fast and compact naval helicopter for military missions. The Kaman design, received the corporate designation K-20. The helicopter was positively assessed, which led to the conclusion of a contract for the construction of four prototypes and the first batch of 12 production helicopters, designated as HU2K-1. The first flight took place on July 2, 1959 (HU2K-1). The service was put into service in December 1962. It was produced in the period 1959-1969, and 184 were built.

Due to unsatisfactory performance, from 1968, the UH-2 of the US Navy was modified by replacing the power unit, from a single engine to a more powerful twin engine configuration. In October 1970, Seasprite was selected by the US NAVY as the platform for the Light Airborne Multi-Purpose System (LAMPS) helicopter, which resulted in the development and installation of significantly improved protection systems against underwater and surface attacks, in a new variant of the type, designated as SH -2F. In the 1970s and 1980s, most of the existing UH-2 helicopters were upgraded to the improved SH-2F.

Kaman SH-2G Super Seasprite.

The Kaman SH-2G Super Seasprite was originally developed for the US Navy in 1980 as a deep upgrade to the older Kaman SH-2 Seasprite version. In 1985, the SH-2G version program was launched. The US Navy wanted to get better anti-submarine capabilities and felt that modernizing the current helicopters was a more cost-effective approach to the subject. The first YSH-2G prototype took place on April 2, 1985. The prototype was a modified SH-2F equipped with two more powerful General Electric T700-GE-401 / 401C engines.

The Model G has a reinforced upper hull for mounting new, heavier engines. The SH-2G also has multi-functional displays and new avionics systems. Kaman SH-2G Super Seasprite was produced in the years 1985 - 1995.

The main missions of SH-2G helicopters are combat against submarines and surface ships, missile defense, and ship surveillance and protection. Secondary missions may include medical evacuation, search and rescue, troop and cargo transportation, as well as fishing surveillance, amphibious air support, fire detection, mine detection, and assessment of the effects of combat or natural disasters. The SH-2G helicopter can be equipped with various weapons. It can carry various types of weapons, such as the AGM-119B Penguin anti-tank missiles, the MaMaster AGM-65 Maverick series air-to-ground missiles and the Mk.50 torpedoes. The helicopter has two machine guns as standard, of different types, such as the M60 or M134 Gatling gun.

The SH-2G is powered by two T700-GE-401 turboshaft engines with a capacity of 2 x 1,723 shp (2 x 1,285 kW). In the event of failure or damage, the helicopter can fly with one engine. The rotor blades have reduced vibration, which ensures longer component life and less fatigue among crew members. A feature of this helicopter is the possibility of in-flight refueling.

The fuselage of this helicopter was specially designed for marine operations. The rotor blades are foldable to facilitate hangar on ships. The helicopter has a flare and dipole launcher, fire suppression system. The pilot and tactical operator sit on energy-absorbing, durable seats. There are also emergency floating devices, life rafts. The modernized SH-2G helicopter uses modern commercial ready-to-use marine systems and equipment, such as an integrated glass cockpit, digital automatic flight control system, modern navigation and communication systems. This helicopter can operate day and night and in difficult weather conditions.

Kaman SH-2G Super Seasprite in Poland.

After Poland joined NATO on March 12, 1999, we had to fulfill allied obligations. It was necessary to strengthen the combat strength of the Navy. One of the elements was the introduction of new combat helicopters into the armament. In 2002, four helicopters were selected from among the SH-2 Gs stored at the AMARC aircraft base in Davis-Monthan, Arizona.

These were SH-2 G helicopters, which came from the last years of production (1995): First Nb 163 543 No. 247. Second Nb 163 544 No. 248. Third Nb 163 545 No. 249. Fourth Nb 163 546 No. 250.

The selected helicopters were sent for overhaul at the Kaman Aerospace plant in Bloomfield. Helicopters have also been retrofitted to perform some combat missions. In September 2002, two helicopters were delivered to Poland, by sea to Germany, and then by flight to Gdynia. A group of American instructors came with the helicopters. In October 2002, two more helicopters were delivered. The helicopters are stationed at the airport in Babie Doły, due to the proximity of the naval port in Oksywie. Polish pilots quickly mastered the panache of new helicopters, which was a surprise for American instructors.

The Polish Navy operates four Kaman SH-2G Super Seasprite helicopters, which were purchased as part of two Oliver Hazard Perry frigates from the US Navy. The frigates now operate as ORP General Tadeusz Kościuszko and General Kazimierz Pułaski. In 2007, they were modified so that they could be equipped with one MU90 Impact torpedo and a 7.62 mm PK machine gun on a rotating stand.

W dniu 25 października 2002 roku, przy Skwerze Kościuszki w Gdyni, nowe śmigłowce pokazano społeczeństwu miasta. Dwa śmigłowce wystartowały z pokładu fregaty, wykonały kilka przelotów przed publicznością i odlecały do bazy. Załogi śmigłowców były mieszane: Polsko - Amerykańskie.

It is worth noting that Polish technicians provided glazing of the helicopter service at the Kaman Aerospace plant in Bloomfield, because in 2002 no combat unit in the USA used these helicopters anymore. The SH-2 G helicopters were a reserve of equipment in the event of war.

At the beginning of 2003, the first Polish crews received certificates authorizing them to fly in full scope. The certificates were presented by the US Ambassador to Poland, Mr. Christopher Hill. After just a few weeks, the commanders of helicopter crews received instructor certificates. In 2003, one SH-2 G helicopter was presented at the Air Show in Radom.

Written by Karol Placha Hetman